How Bowen Byram helps the Buffalo Sabres despite Mittelstadt trade

The Buffalo Sabres traded Casey Mittelstadt, and it was a move that may have made little sense had they not landed intriguing defenseman Bowen Byram.
Feb 24, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram (4) falls to the ice
Feb 24, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram (4) falls to the ice / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

So much for claiming that trading Casey Mittelstadt would make little sense, as sometimes, the compensation for such a move could say otherwise. Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams made sure he was sending Mittelstadt away for some enticing compensation that came in the form of Bowen Byram, an intriguing blueliner who could become a long-term piece to the Blue and Gold’s core. 

For one, he’s just 22 years old, so there is a lot of good hockey left in Byram. He will also be a restricted free agent after the 2024-25 season, and he has played top-four minutes with the Colorado Avalanche, along with seeing time on the bottom-pairing. Byram also joins a defensive rotation that involves Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Mattias Samuelsson, and Ryan Johnson, all of whom are 23 and under. 

This gives the Sabres the potential for two more young players (Byram and Johnson) who could very likely join Dahlin, Power, and Samuelsson in the rotation long-term. And if they all stay healthy, Buffalo could have the hottest group of young blueliners in the NHL. 

Bowen Byram acquisition was a good move for the Buffalo Sabres

Byram won’t wow you with his offensive production, having scored just 20 points in 55 contests, but his double-digit shooting percentage is high for a defenseman. He isn’t the most physical player out there, but he’s also not afraid of contact, recording 75 blocked shots and 60 hits as of March 6th. 

With just over 50 shorthanded minutes, Byram has shown he can be trusted on the penalty kill, and his on-ice save percentage of 86.7 at 4-on-5 is also trending in the right direction. Colorado’s goaltending hasn’t been the best this year, but it hasn’t stopped Byram from logging a 91.5 on-ice save percentage at 5-on-5. 

Byram can also quarterback the power play, something he has done on a part-time basis this season with 48.1 minutes on the man advantage, and he’s also been decent at helping his team create opportunities on offense throughout his 146 games with a 51.7 Corsi For Percentage at 5-on-5. 

Overall, there is a lot of untapped potential with Byram as he joins one of the NHL’s youngest teams. Look for him to play a solid game in Buffalo when he becomes a member of this exciting defensive rotation in the coming days, and though young, he already knows a little about playing for a winning organization. Maybe he can bring some of that experience to the Sabres for the rest of this season and definitely next year.